05/29/2007 11:00PM

Hard to fault Talking Treasure


Charlton Baker said he feels Talking Treasure has barely tapped her potential.

"She's getting better with each start," the trainer said. "She has a lot of ability and there is a lot more in the tank."

Talking Treasure heads the field Friday at Belmont Park in the $65,000 Touch of Love Stakes at six furlongs for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies.

Talking Treasure has never been worse than second, with a record of 3-2-0 in 5 starts, all against statebreds.

The Beyer Speed Figures stamp her the one to beat. Talking Treasure ran 78 and 79 in her last two races, a level of consistency none of her rivals has matched.

A homebred daughter of Catienus for owners Sarah and Ken Ramsey, Talking Treasure goes for her second straight stakes victory - and third overall. She captured a similar restricted stakes, the Bouwerie, last time out on May 6 at Belmont.

"She's had a little bit of a freshener since then and she's doing really well," Baker said.

Talking Treasure signaled her readiness for this assignment with a five-furlong drill in 1:00.88, the fastest of six workouts at the distance last Saturday on Belmont's training track.

"She came out of that great and is going into the race full of confidence," Baker said.

The only possible negative is a cutback in distance to six furlongs. Talking Treasure's last two starts were seven-furlong victories preceded by a pair of seconds in one mile and 70-yard races over Aqueduct's inner track.

"It's a little bit of a concern," Baker said. "I think seven-eighths and longer is her game, but she is very versatile. You can put her wherever you need to in a race."

My Kitty has the most experience in the field. Trained by Gary Contessa, she will be making her 14th start. She owns two wins and was a rallying second to Talking Treasure in the Bouwerie after dropping 11 lengths off the early pace.

Silvercup Baby makes her first start since rolling to a pacesetting maiden win at Aqueduct in February. She tuned up for the comeback with a bullet work - 59.74 seconds for five furlongs - at Belmont on May 24.

Crosstown Traffic ran long on the turf in her last two races and this should be a favorable distance cutback for the filly, who is 2 for 3 at six furlongs.

Completing the field are Salt Water Reign, Nordberg, and Western Sweep.